There’s an important difference between giving up and letting go.” ~Jessica Hatchigan~
I wanted to share a blog post that I wrote back in 2012. I found it interesting to look back and compare when I am today as opposed to nearly ten years ago, exactly what, if any wisdom I’ve gained. I hope you’ll continue to read along.
Have you ever asked yourself, when is a good time to give up? At what point do I call it a day? When do I walk away and just let go?
I asked myself these questions about a novel I wrote a few years back. I’d submitted it to a few places but ultimately it was rejected. At the time I was disappointed, not crushed –I’ve had my share of rejections in the past– but disappointed nonetheless. Using one editor’s suggestions I decided to revise the story which took many, many hours. I felt the story idea was good and it was a story I wanted to tell. I soon found out that good ideas don’t always turn into good stories. I resubmitted it only to have it rejected again with the suggestion that I allow the story to set for a time or else abandon it permanently since it seemed that the “best part of the manuscript was the idea behind it.”
Ouch! I’m being honest here. That one stung.
Writers learn to make rejection a part of our lives. We send things out, they come back, we send them out again, and again. We try and take suggestions from editors if they make sense to us. We resubmit if the editor asks us to.
So, I let the story set for a time. I wrote another novel in between. No doubt I learned a bit more about writing. Having one novel under my belt certainly didn’t prove I knew everything there was to know about writing. But that other novel kept niggling away at me, staying in my thoughts.
Maybe I simply like beating a dead horse to death. Maybe I’m as stubborn as the day is long. Maybe, just maybe, I knew I had more in me to give.
Fast forward a few years. I’m hard at work rewriting that same novel I started out with several years back. I stripped it down to the bare bones and began again. Is it working this time around? I’ll let you know as soon as I can. I’ll give you a hint, don’t hold your breath. It may take some time for me to flesh it all out. What I can tell you is, that although the story has the same basic elements, it’s totally different this time around.
Now you might think I just don’t know when to give in, but I can assure you that I’ve left a trail of unfinished stories behind me, stories that I knew were just never going to make it. Sometimes the story we’re writing is just practice for the next one. I’ve had plenty of practice over the years, but I’ve also had plenty of success.
There are times, and situations in life, when the best thing to do is to simply let go, especially if we want some peace in our lives. I’m a believer in letting go, but only if letting go is the right thing to do. Other times we know deep down that giving up is not the answer no matter what others might tell us. Ultimately, we know ourselves and what we are capable of. I knew I would never be happy if I let this particular story go. The editor who said that the idea is good was right. It is a good idea. So, I’m back at it, giving it one more shot, one final go round before I finally willing to let it go.
There is a reason, I’m sharing this blog post from nine years ago. It is because the novel I was referring to in that post was A Sure Cure for Witchcraft, my middle grade novel that is about to be published in September. That’s right–published! And that “one more shot” I mentioned way back in 2012 ended up being multiple shots as I returned to the story many more times until I got it right. The only thing that has never changed over the years was the title and apparently my resolve to finish this story.
While there are times in life when we do need to let go, there are also times when we need to trust in ourselves and know in our hearts when something feels right. I believe we all have our own inner wisdom and sometimes we need to trust in that wisdom (which also happens to be one of the themes in A Sure Cure for Witchcraft.) And as I’m waiting to finally have this long-awaited novel in my clutches, I’m so glad I trusted in mine.
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